Paid Search Tough to Manage

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It’s no secret to those of us who deal with paid search every day that managing campaigns can be a handful.

There are lots of moving parts to a paid search campaign and for clients who put all their eggs (e.g., media dollars) into the paid search basket, riding the PPC rollercoaster means lots of hands on monitoring, maintenance and optimization so that flow of sales and/or leads doesn’t slow to a trickle.

In November 2006, The e-tailing group conducted a survey of 100 e-commerce executives to gauge how they handle the growing challenge of managing paid search. Statistics were revealing. Dubbed the “First Annual E-tailer PPC Stress Study,” the study contained some very interesting statistics.

Here’s a highlight of some of the juicier ones.

  • 66% of respondants have been investing in PPC for more than two years
  • 54% rank their teams at 7 or higher in terms of PPC sophistication (in a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest)
  • Marketer’s spread their PPC dollars between Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask with 100% of e-tailers advertising on Google and a mere 27% advertising on Ask (think “opportunity” here)
  • 40% of respondants manage over 5000 keywords
  • Staffing for PPC management is handled in-house by the vast majority of marketers with 59% internal, 18% outsourced and 23% a combination of both
  • 32% of respondants spent less than 5 hours per week managing their campaigns
  • 33% of respondants spent more than 21 or more hours per week managing their campaigns
  • 40% of respondants were satifisifed with insourcing PPC while 11% were considering outsourcing and 19% were very satisfied with their outsourced PPC management

There are a lot more statistics available from the study’s Executive Summary which you can download for free from the e-tailing group’s website.

A key learning from the survey was that PPC management for e-commerce merchants is work intensive and takes expertise. The paradox of paid search is that it’s so “quick and easy” to put a campaign up, but the complexities of managing the live campaign and obtaining sustainable sales or leads at a favorable ROI is the hard part.

Lauren Freeman, the e-tailing group’s president, sums up the issue succinctly. Ms. Freeman stated that many e-tailers in the study indicated that limited time to manage PPC campaigns and the availability of skilled personnel were key frustrations.



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Michael Pedone is the President / CEO of eTrafficJams.com, a search engine optimization and website marketing company <http://www.etrafficjams.com> located in Clearwater, Florida that specializes in getting targeted, eager-to-buy traffic to your site. You can catch him blogging at: <http://www.etrafficjams.com/blog/>.

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